Riverdale Reactions: Chapter 15, “Nighthawks”

Welcome back! I hope you’ve had a chance to catch up on Season two of Riverdale by this point! If not, you still have a little time before episode three airs tonight. As a reminder, this is not meant to be a review or a recap, just my own opinions on the show as I see it. There will be spoilers.

(Note: I’m on vacation, so I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to put this together, so thoughts will be brief.)

I really love how they start out with the retro scene of teenagers in old school outfits going in and out of Pop’s. It’s a nice callback to the comic series. But when it fades into the present day, with that ugly slogan painted on the side of the Chock’lit Shoppe? I wanted to cry. It’s so stark and cold.

But I have to admit, I’m very fond of Pop. He’s such a sweet man and he truly loves his patrons. He even remembers FP’s favorite meal when Jughead comes to ask if Pop will cook one last meal for his father. Fried chicken, cornbread, onion rings, and an orange freeze.

Pop wouldn’t have been blamed for closing his doors prior to this, especially if you listen to what he said in Chapter 14. He’s been robbed plenty of times. Bricks were thrown through the window during “the riots” (and what riots are you talking about, Pop? something from the comics? tell me more!). But this, the idea that one of the series’ beloved fathers was shot inside of what was formerly a safe haven seems to be enough to drive patrons away.

Nevertheless, Pop soldiers on. Our Heroes do too, with Betty deciding to take charge of an effort to save Pop’s from an untimely demise.

Moving on, I’m a little curious about why Sheriff Keller seems so uninterested in Fred’s shooting. Granted, there was no actual murder, but it seems pretty clear from the outside that this was a premeditated attack. “We’re doing everything we can.” I’ve heard that before. I’ve even said it in the course of my day job. That’s a generic sentence that you give to people to shut them up so that they’ll go away and leave you alone.

Who has Sheriff Keller in their pocket? (Note the lighting. A character that is cast in shadow is often deliberately portrayed as such so to appear untrustworthy.)

(On the other end of the spectrum, Archie is frequently bathed in light this episode, as Jughead was in Chapter 14.) Archie’s determination to guard his home is both inspiring and … sad, I suppose? It makes me feel old to watch his late night vigils with a baseball bat, knowing that the killer has a gun and is also rather stealthy character all the same. How else would the killer have been able to sneak up on Miss Grundy and strangle her with her own bow? (Still not sorry she’s dead, btw.)

I don’t like Mayor McCoy. Something about her is more than a little off. One instance of violence doesn’t mean that the Chock’lit Shoppe is inherently bad. As Betty says later, there are too many good memories in the place for it to be allowed to close. At the same time I can understand why she’s not overly concerned with FP’s fate. She is the mayor and she does have a lot on her plate already.

Betty blackmailing Cheryl was a fabulous hint at the return of Dark Betty. This year, Betty Cooper has grown a set of claws and isn’t afraid to wield them when necessary.

I’ve gotta be honest, guys, this episode didn’t stand out that much to me. I’ve watched it twice, and am in the middle of watching it a third time in the background as I write this reaction, but I couldn’t tell you much of anything about Chapter 15. I do want to point out that things are already a lot heavier and darker when compared to the earlier episodes of Season One. It’s appropriate that the show runners have elected to title the episodes as numeric chapters that kept rising, despite the break that we here in the real world had between events. The season has picked up exactly where it ended, and that’s not a bad thing. I just hope that the story gets more engaging as things move on. This seems to be a pointless murder mystery so far. I hope that more will be revealed during Chapter 16.

I do need to mention that one particularly fun moment in the show features probably the least ironic performance of Kelis’ “Milkshake” in the history of of ever:

And, of course, Midge and Moose bite the dust in classic horror movie fashion. Don’t do drugs or have premarital sex, kiddos. Otherwise you might end up shot in your car at the local lovers’ lane.

And that’s it! See you next week!

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